By Harriet Tyce
Publication Date: 21st February 2019
Format: ARC (336 pages)
Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…
Just one more night. Then I’ll end it.
Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.
I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.
Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.
I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.
But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….. (Goodreads)
By now you may or may not have seen lists with the books you should look out for in 2019. Many of these lists include Blood Orange and after reading it, I can see how this latest book in the ever increasing “Domestic Thriller” sub-genre more than deserves its place on these lists.
Alison, the main character of the book, is the latest in a recent trend of female characters who seems to be on a path of self-destruction. From the outside she has everything, but for some reason she is intent on destroying what she has.
At the beginning of the book it is difficult to empathise or sympathise with Alison. Her excessive drinking and her ongoing affair seem to indicate that something is making her unhappy. At first, I thought it was due to her looking to escape the hum drum of her life with her family. As the book progressed, I began to suspect that she was looking elsewhere because her husband, Carl, was no longer attracted to her or that their relationship had just settled into a routine.
With the opportunity to defend a murder case, Alison ends up working even closer with her lover. At the same time, she begins to receive anonymous text messages that indicate that someone knows about her affair.
As we begin to get a better insight into Alison’s domestic situation and the case that she is working on, I began to see some slight similarities in Alison and Margaret, her clients, lives. Both had husbands who tried to control their wife’s lives. Telling them, in a round a bout way what to wear or eat or drink. I began to fear that Alison would end up going down the same path that Margaret took as it all became too much.
The first impressions I had of Carl began to erode away and I began to see a man who was jealous of his wife. Not just of her career, but also of the relationship she had with their daughter. It seemed he was trying to do everything to drive a wedge between them and I couldn’t understand why, except for the fact that he was envious. He took every opportunity to belittle her and undermine her with friends and family. My dislike grew to the point where I despised him and I began rooting for Alison to break free from him.
About two thirds through the book, something happens that threw the book off its axis. While the pieces fitted together due to the actions of certain characters, I still ended up shocked at the turn of events. The dominos began to fall and there was a need to get to the end of the book to see how it was all going to play out. The repercussion of a certain characters actions were far reaching and left a very deep impact, it was difficult not to be shocked.
As the book galloped to the conclusion of the book, Tyce wasn’t finished with a few little twists in the tale that left me gobsmacked. It is difficult to explain or even comment on them because it would spoil it for any potential reader. Just be prepared to witness the depths at which some people will go to in order to get their vengeance and the lengths a mother will go to protect her child.
Tyce has created a cast of multi-faceted characters, where you swing from love to hate and back again. For a debut novel, this ticks all the boxes for those that really love this genre. This is ideal for fans of Big Little Lies, The Girl on the Train and the TV show Doctor Foster.
A word of warning though, be prepared to lose hours of sleep as you near the end of this book. You will not be able to put it down until you read the explosive climax.
HARRIET TYCE ONLINE